By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At the base of Harmon Killebrew’s bronze statue on Target plaza, a bed of colorful pansies is freshly planted. The Target Field grounds crew was hard at work Tuesday, touching up a make-shift memorial to a fallen Twins legend.

Killebrew died Tuesday morning at the age of 74 following a battle with esophageal cancer.

Jeremiah Peterson said Tuesday he was doing his par.

“People have been putting flowers out here all week so we’ve been tending to that as much as we can,” Peterson said.

Up and down the plaza fans are stopping by to pay tribute. Melanie Meidl was too young to have cheered Killebrew on, but his impact on fans isn’t lost on youth.

“It’s just really sad, seems to have happened really quickly after the announcement last week he was going into hospice,” Meidl said.

Chances are pretty good that if you’re under the age of 45, you never had the joy of watching Harmon swinging the bat or rounding the bases. But long-time Twins fan Bob Wolf remembers him well.

“He had a wonderful bat, he hit some towering homeruns that guy,” Wolf said.

Since 1961, Killebrew was the face of the Twins’ franchise. It was a title and honor he kept long after Harmon left the game.

“I just really appreciate what he did for baseball,” Meidl said.

Four days after announcing he was leaving the hospital in Arizona and entering hospice, hopeful prayers were replaced by a sense of somberness. The biggest Minnesota Twin of all leaves behind a gentle legacy of kindness and humility. And in the memories of Twins fans young and old, forever a penchant for hitting balls out of the park.

Zach Bares is too young to have ever seen Killebrew hit a home run. Still, he’s heard the stories from his father of what No. 3 will always mean to the team.

“I know that he was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He hit 573 homeruns in his career for the Twins and will always be remembered as a great home run hitter,” Bares said.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones also talked with fans mourning Killebrew’s death

Comments (14)
  1. Tom Gillen says:

    The Loss of a great legend, he will be missed

  2. irene simmons says:

    Target Field should have a sub title – The house that Harmon built! He was the reason I went to Twins games in my youth to see him slug it out of the park. How lucky I was to see him play. I will miss you Harmon, you were a class act on and off the field!

  3. Steven Lancer says:

    Way back…way back….its gone…touch em all Harm…and God’s speed…

  4. wondering says:

    Target Field should be renamed…Killebrew Stadium or field..the Twins were built on his bat. It would be an appropiate way to remember a Minnesota Icon. People say there are no more heroes…Harmon was one to many of every way

  5. Mary Raiolo says:

    YOU were and always will be THE BEST player in baseball history. Rest in peace, and my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Enjoy playing baseball in Heaven #3.

  6. Wes says:

    I was 7 years old in the spring of 1961 and am blessed to have been witness to the career of this great man. So many memories. Harmon, your legacy will be here forever.

    P.S. I was REALLY mad when Calvin sent you to Kansas City.

  7. david9562 says:

    thank you KILLER

  8. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    Let’s not forget the stadium seat mounted to the wall in Mall of America that marks the spot of the longest ball ever hit (of course by Killebrew) at Metropolitan Stadium. It’s on the 4th floor level on the outside of wall of Hooter’s and visible from the 3rd floor balconies on either side.

  9. janey says:

    i can still hear my grandpa; yelling at the radio “Run Harmon Run!!!!!!” Harmon Killebrew was class act from begining to end. He made time for his fans always. He helped little kids in wheelerchairs play baseball and be just little kids.He will be greatly missed by all. Touch them all Harm because you are a STAR!!!!!!
    Young players should take note this is how a Sports Legends are made.

    1. Thanks Harmon says:

      VERY nicely said Janey!!! My heart aches badly today. Reasing stories such as yours makes it a bit less painful.

  10. Steve Hursh says:

    This is the day that I hoped would never happen. Harmon Killebrew was a Hero to many, including me, beginning in 1961. No one ever wants to lose their Hero. He was known as a “Slugger”, but he was also a caring and sensitive individual. He gave us Minnesotans the best years of his baseball career, and he gave much, much more through his charities and through his Foundation. I had the pleasure of unexpectedly meeting him 3 times after his retirement, and he was unbelievably gracious. To the world, he was known as a baseball Great. To his Fans, he also represented Goodness, Honor, Strength and Tenacity – he was a Great Man and his legacy will live on. I hope his Family is Proud of him. We sure are! This is hard to say….we will miss you Harmon. Rest in Peace.

  11. Julie says:

    Thanks Harmon for gracing our lives with your talent and spirit…RIP…go play ball with God…see if HE can catch your

  12. Thank You Harmon!!! says:

    This is a VERY sad day in Minnesota, and the baseball world in general. Some of my fondest memories are of sitting in the left field bleachers of the old Met with my friends, waiting for one of Harmon’s monstrous shots to come our way. That and listening to Twins games as a kid on WCCO on those warm, summer nights, as my friends and I played wiffle ball till the sun went down. Harmon was one in a million..pure class all the way around. No big ego, no need to showboat, just a fantastic baseball player and an even more wonderful human being. You will be dearly missed Harmon. My heart is heavy today. At least I’ll have the honor of seeing the seat where he hit that 520 foot blast up on the wall of the Mall of America. God Bless you Harmon.